By Michel Rocard, Yehuda Atai and Jean-Marie Matagne
Libération Translated for Truthout by Leslie Thatcher 11/16/07

We are being warned about it from all sides: the United States is at the brink of war, ready to bombard Iran. The only thing lacking is the presidential order. At the beginning of October, dozens of American political, religious, military, intellectual and artistic personalities called on the United States’s joint chiefs-of-staff, officers and soldiers to repudiate any order to attack Iran. This unprecedented appeal underlines the degree to which the risk of seeing war break out any time in the upcoming days, weeks or months is real and how imperative is the duty to prevent that risk. That’s why we support the appeal launched on the other side of the Atlantic and desire to extend it to Europe.

The invasion of Iraq by the United States-led coalition was contrary to the United Nations’s Charter and has proved to be catastrophic. Any aggression against Iran would be just as illegal and even more catastrophic.

Article II, paragraph 4 of the United Nations’s Charter declares, “All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” As the authors of the appeal already cited observe, Iran has not attacked the United States; the United States is a signatory to the United Nations Charter; consequently, any attack by the United States on Iran would be illegal under international law, but also under the Constitution of the United States, which recognizes treaties as the supreme law of the land – illegal also, of course, for the military who have taken an oath to the Constitution.

These observations are equally valid for the leaders, military and citizens of European United Nations Member States, whether or not they are allied with the United States in the framework of NATO. Consequently, we call on them to refuse in advance any cooperation, all political, economic or military aid, and any logistical support in the event of war.

The war that continues in Iraq has created thousands of victims among the military and hundreds of thousands within the population. It represents an ecological and public health catastrophe that we are still far from being able to assess. It nourishes the hatreds, fanaticism, and terrorism it was supposed to combat.

An attack against Iran, whatever its targets, its methods and its initial scope, will significantly aggravate the situation, achieving similar results, without even talking about the disastrous impact on the global economy. It would be still worse if the insane idea of using tactical nuclear weapons – which exist – to prevent Iran from building, in spite of its denials, the nuclear weapons that recent IAEA inspections have found no trace of were implemented.

Under the mullahs’ leadership, the Iranian people supported an eight-year-long war against the aggressor Saddam Hussein. Attacking Iran again is not the way to distance the people from those same leaders. Killing thousands or hundreds of thousands from among their ranks is not the way to ameliorate Iranians’ respect for human rights.

It’s also not by trying to sell nuclear technology everywhere but Iran that will convince Iran to renounce that technology. It’s not by keeping and modernizing their own nuclear weapons, as do the United States, France and Great Britain (not to mention from Russia, China, India, Pakistan and Israel) that they can require Iran to renounce such weapons. And it’s not be continuing to flout Article 5 of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that the states already endowed with nuclear arms can demand anything whatsoever from other states signatory to the NPT, including Iran. Non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament go hand-in-hand. It is urgent to acknowledge that.

It is even only by virtue of taking the path of negotiated nuclear disarmament, as foreseen in Article 6 of the NPT, that the international community has any chance of seeing Iran offer all the concrete and verifiable guarantees, if such exist, that it will never procure a nuclear weapon for itself. That virtuous cycle should, at the same time, deter other states in the region from wanting to “proliferate,” and lead the de-facto nuclear states such as Israel, Pakistan and India to also commit themselves to the path of a world freed of all nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, in the Middle East, as elsewhere.

Consequently, rejecting war today is neither accepting the status quo nor deferring war to tomorrow.

It is, quite the opposite, giving diplomacy the time, the opportunity, and the imperative of reaching a global solution for peace and security for all the countries and all the peoples of the Middle East, and beyond, for the entire planet. It is avoiding new tears of blood. It’s allowing reason to prevail, allowing our children and grandchildren to live in a less violent, more just and more humane world. Without nuclear wars, nuclear weapons, or nuclear threats.

Europe can contribute to that vision. Europeans must stand up against the approaching war.
Former French Prime Minister Michel Rocard is a European MP. Yehuda Atai is a member of the Israeli Committee for a Middle East without Weapons of Mass destruction and executive secretary of the Network for a Non-Nuclear Mediterranean. Doctor of Philosophy Jean-Marie Matagne is the president of Citizens’ Action for Nuclear Disarmament.

Translation: Truthout French language editor Leslie Thatcher.